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Agency helps secure new world record for the novelist, Neil Blower

Neil Blower sets a new world record after signing copies of his novel, Shell Shock, for 72 hours non-stop.
Neil Blower sets a new world record after signing copies of his novel, Shell Shock, for 72 hours non-stop.

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The agency’s client Neil Blower has set a new world record for the Longest Continuous Book Signing, it emerged this morning.

Neil, an acclaimed novelist, signed copies of his first book, Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins, for 72 hours non-stop.

The gruelling feat took place at the War & Peace Revival Show in Kent earlier this year.

He planned to sign a total of 5,000 books over the course of the five-day challenge, which was undertaken to raise money for the Royal British Legion and the mental health charity, Combat Stress.

Though the turnout was less than originally expected, the Royal Tank Regiment veteran – who was struck down with PTSD following the death of a colleague in Iraq – still set a new Record Setter record in the process.

He opted for an unofficial record through Record Setter because the fees levied by Guinness World Records to give it their stamp of approval would have reduced the amount of money he could give to charity.

The challenge was created and promoted by Palamedes PR, a book PR agency which has represented Neil for more than two years.

Speaking yesterday Neil, who lives in Salford, Manchester, said: “I’m over the moon that the charity challenge has set a new world record. I didn’t sign as many books as I hoped, but I’ve done what I really wanted – to raise awareness of PTSD and raise some money for two very worthwhile charities.”

Neil was diagnosed with PTSD after his mentor and sergeant, Steve Roberts, became the first British casualty of the Iraq War. He was shot and killed by insurgents in March 2003.

The father-of-two, who also served on the frontline in Kosovo, found solace from a “maze of darkness” by taking up creative writing.

His first book ‘Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins’ – a semi-autobiographical story which he describes as a “light-hearted mix of Heart of Darkness and Adrian Mole” – was published by Firestep Publishing to critical acclaim in October 2011.

He has now become one of Britain’s foremost campaigners for PTSD, and is the brainchild behind an idea to place ‘Veterans Champions’ in every British local authority to support ex-forces personnel.

Neil’s record attempt began on the morning of Wednesday 17th July and finished on Sunday 21st July – a total of 72 hours continuous signing.

The aim was to set a record for the longest continual book signing, rather than to beat the existing Guinness World Record for the most number of books signed in a single session – currently held by the chess champion Anatoli Karpov.

A spokesman for Palamedes PR, which specialises in PR stunts and book PR, admitted that news of the record came as a “relief”.

He said: “The quality of the concept was never in doubt – we knew the record challenge would support Neil’s PR objectives in a fun and newsworthy fashion.

“But good ideas are meaningless if they fail to produce successful outcomes. We are, then, somewhat relieved that the record came through and that we were able to effectively support Neil’s goals in this regard.”

He added: “We would like to thank Firestep Publishing and also the War and Peace Revival Show for their incredible and much-valued support, without which the record would never have come to fruition.”

By Mick Blight

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